Big Data Will Only Work If The Suits Are Talking To The Geeks

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digital data disconnectI highly recommend anyone working with data in their organizations read this excellent piece by Garry Przyklenk: The Pros and Cons of Big Data Democratization. Not only does he provide context for the growing challenges organizations face with data, he outlines the competing values decision makers must weigh in order to construct effective policies around the collection, use, and analysis of data.

As you’ll note in his comments section I did challenge Garry on one of his statements that I believe highlights the fundamental reason organizations struggle with data:

In my experience debates on these matters do NOT happen in the “upper echelons” of an organization. Its been my experience that the opposite is true. The people that are dealing with these issues are the data specialists or IT guys charged with housing and storing and piece-mealing it out when asked by management. Management has not taken the time to understand where the data comes from, how it’s stored and categorized nor understands the methods data is extracted. So what you have is a disconnect between the people that understand how the data works and what story it COULD tell (IT, data marketing, etc), and the people who can understand how that story can improve business but don’t understand how the data works (management). Only by bringing people together from both groups to DISCUSS both needs and narratives of each group, could you start to build a complete picture of what the data is saying about business and outcomes.

I’d love to know if you have found this to be the case or found the opposite, and what do you think are the challenges organizations face when dealing with the tidal wave of data and high expectations for it.

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